Tour operator goes undercover to catch bogus illness claims firm

A travel firm is reported to have used spies to catch a claims management company encouraging holidaymakers in Benidorm to make bogus allegations that they fell ill.

The investigation comes as some resorts have seen a 400% increase in claims made against them, many generated by legal firms who advertise on social media sites such as Facebook.

The Mail on Sunday reported one leading travel firm, which is said it did not name for legal reasons, hired Tremark private investigators to fight back.

The newspaper says it obtained footage of a British firm called Sick By The Sea approaching undercover investigators at the Sol Pelicnos hotel in Benidorm, where the hit ITV show is based.

It was claimed the investigators were told all they need to do was buy some medication and take a photograph of it and they could be in line for a £3,000 pay out.

Although illegal to make a false claim, the investigator was told there  would be no “comeback” as the case would be taken on a ‘no win no fee’ basis.

The operator decided to act after it was told by the hotel that fliers were being handed out to guests by claims management companies.

Manchester-based Sick By The Sea told the Mail on Sunday that it was not company policy to encourage holidaymakers to lie and disciplinary action would be taken against its employee.

Earlier this month Abta demanded government action after an “alarming” rise in gastric illness compensation claims.

Evidence compiled by the association indicates an increase in the travel-related activities of claims management companies, following civil justice reforms in 2012. 

The reforms included measures which were intended to clamp down on fraudulent personal injury claims, but excluded incidents that occurred overseas from the expansion of the regime for fixed recoverable costs.

This has spawned a rise in specialist legal firms creating brands specifically to fish for business on social media and online.

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